Sound and Feasible Reasoning: A Multi-Factor Account of the Normativity of Logic
Abstract: Does logic provide a guide on how we ought to reason? In this talk, we will develop a novel perspective on the question of the normativity of logic for everyday reasoning. We will reinterpret this question as a clash between an “intuitive connection” (i.e., that there is a direct, normative connection between logic and reasoning) and a “feasibilityproblem” (i.e., that it may be beyond one’s cognitive capacities to detect a logical inconsistency or draw a certain logical inference). The feasibility problem appears to challenge the intuitive connection. Within the recent contributions to the debate, the standard response has been to abandon the intuitive connection. Starting from the seminal MacFarlane (2004), the literature has indeed focused on answering the feasibility problem by connecting logic and reasoning via “bridge principles” of increasing complexity. We aim to show that the standard response is unwarranted. We argue that there is a way in which the feasibility problem can be addressed without sacrificing the intuitive connection. The key component of our proposal will be to rethink the question of the normativity of logic within a fine-grained theory of rational agency where logical soundness is only one of the many normative factors that guide our reasoning.